Donating Blood during COVID-19

Posted by schlegdiesel @schlegdiesel, Apr 9 7:15pm

I donated blood on tuesday in roch, wondering if they will test for antibodies

@schlegdiesel, thank you for donating blood in Rochester. As this article outlines, there is a serious shortage of blood because people are not donating due to the pandemic.
– Mayo Clinic Minute: Blood donations in demand https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-blood-donations-in-demand/

Donated blood is rigorously tested. They may test for antibodies, I'm not sure. People who have a cold, fever or the flu are not able to donate blood. Were you asked before you donated if you were ill, had a fever or had been ill recently? What physical distancing protocols were in place at the donation center?

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I donated blood too last week. I have been trying to donate on schedule. I reached my first gallon. They give out nice prizes. I think they are going to test for the virus because they tested for zika when that virus was a concern.

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@colleenyoung Here in Long Beach the Red Cross is asking people to donate plasma I think the blood donations are down because of this pandemic.

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@ihatediabetes

I donated blood too last week. I have been trying to donate on schedule. I reached my first gallon. They give out nice prizes. I think they are going to test for the virus because they tested for zika when that virus was a concern.

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@ihatediabetes . Thank you for donating it sure is needed right now . I use to do my part at the blood bank working but fainted everything I gave blood so I stopped this just worked at it .

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Why is it down? What kind of blood type is most essential?

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@-bunjo In my area the Red Cross is asking for donations of platelets. Im assuming its because of the covid_19 people are to be staying home so they aren't going out to give blood. All types of blood are important but 0 negative is the universal blood that can be used for any type . Correct me if Im wrong about the universal being negative @colleenyoung . its been awhile since I worked at the blood bank

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First, I want to thank you all for having a forum where one can get accurate information and support during these difficult times.

A bit about me: I am a 72 year old white male military veteran. My two tours in Vietnam left me 100% disabled. My disability consists of PTSD and loss of an eye. I have worked hard over the years since to overcome my acrophobia, which in the past has had me stay at home and completely isolated. I find it ironic that now I have easily fallen back into isolation with the blessings of the V.A. I have been totally isolated without Covid-19 symptoms in my NYC apartment with my 3 cats since March the 8th. I do not have a mask, nor any other protective gear.

That being said, this is not why I am writing. For the past several years I have been a consistent blood donor. I donate whole blood about every 2 months or so. The NY Blood Bank have pleaded with me to make plasma donations. I have shied away from doing so because I do not like anything going into my body. Take what wou want out, but do not put anything back in has been my feeling.

I am due to donate again at the end of April, and here is my question. Is it unreasonable for me to ask for a Covid-19 test, an antigen test, and a face mask as a condition? If given those 3 things, I would be willing to make a plasma donation, as creepy as that sounds to me. Surely the blood bank would need to know if I am infected, was infected, or am immune. So would I! The blood bank contacts with whome I have spoken with are schedulers, volunteers, and not medical experts.

As part of the donation process, after being hooked up, they take several test-tubes of blood for testing. It should be a no-brainer to do the Covid tests along with all the other tests they perform.

What say you medical experts on this list?

Best regards

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@seafire

First, I want to thank you all for having a forum where one can get accurate information and support during these difficult times.

A bit about me: I am a 72 year old white male military veteran. My two tours in Vietnam left me 100% disabled. My disability consists of PTSD and loss of an eye. I have worked hard over the years since to overcome my acrophobia, which in the past has had me stay at home and completely isolated. I find it ironic that now I have easily fallen back into isolation with the blessings of the V.A. I have been totally isolated without Covid-19 symptoms in my NYC apartment with my 3 cats since March the 8th. I do not have a mask, nor any other protective gear.

That being said, this is not why I am writing. For the past several years I have been a consistent blood donor. I donate whole blood about every 2 months or so. The NY Blood Bank have pleaded with me to make plasma donations. I have shied away from doing so because I do not like anything going into my body. Take what wou want out, but do not put anything back in has been my feeling.

I am due to donate again at the end of April, and here is my question. Is it unreasonable for me to ask for a Covid-19 test, an antigen test, and a face mask as a condition? If given those 3 things, I would be willing to make a plasma donation, as creepy as that sounds to me. Surely the blood bank would need to know if I am infected, was infected, or am immune. So would I! The blood bank contacts with whome I have spoken with are schedulers, volunteers, and not medical experts.

As part of the donation process, after being hooked up, they take several test-tubes of blood for testing. It should be a no-brainer to do the Covid tests along with all the other tests they perform.

What say you medical experts on this list?

Best regards

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Hi @seafire and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to an existing discussion about Donating Blood during COVID-19 https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/donating-blood/

I did this so you can talk with others who have and are considering donating blood and asking about testing. @schlegdiesel and @ihatediabetes can share about their experiences donating blood during this time.

On Connect, members are fellow patients and caregivers, not medical professionals. Others have had the same questions as you about testing for COVID-19 and antibodies. Often patients are being asked to bring their own masks as they are in short supply at health care facilities. I don't know if the donation center would be able to fulfill that demand in NYC right now.

Here's a video about the high demand for blood during COVID

Your questions are good questions. Is this something you can ask the blood bank before you go?

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@bunjo

Why is it down? What kind of blood type is most essential?

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Hi @bunjo, plasma is in the highest demand at the moment. Daily you can see which blood types are need by visiting
– Blood Inventory at Mayo Clinic Rochester MN https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/blood-donor-program/

The data is updated daily.

@lioness, the most common blood type is O negative. Here's a breakdown:
O positive: 35%
O negative: 13%
A positive: 30%
A negative: 8%
B positive: 8%
B negative: 2%
AB positive: 2%
AB negative: 1%

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@colleenyoung

Hi @seafire and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to an existing discussion about Donating Blood during COVID-19 https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/donating-blood/

I did this so you can talk with others who have and are considering donating blood and asking about testing. @schlegdiesel and @ihatediabetes can share about their experiences donating blood during this time.

On Connect, members are fellow patients and caregivers, not medical professionals. Others have had the same questions as you about testing for COVID-19 and antibodies. Often patients are being asked to bring their own masks as they are in short supply at health care facilities. I don't know if the donation center would be able to fulfill that demand in NYC right now.

Here's a video about the high demand for blood during COVID

Your questions are good questions. Is this something you can ask the blood bank before you go?

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Hi. Thanks for the quick reply and re-posting to the proper group. To your question: I have had no luck dealing with technical issues speaking directly with "New York Blood Center". As an example, I had a Shingles Vaccine 8 days before my last donation. I called the day before to be sure I was able to donate. I was told that if I received Shingrix (non live) vaccine, I was good to go. When I arrived to donate there was much confusion. At first they would not take blood from me. They did not seem to know the difference between the different types of Shingles Vaccines, and were adamant about my not being able to donate. Only after they spoke to their medical director and to my Doc was I allowed to donate. They may very well be testing for Covid-19, at least I hope so! I don't think it unreasonable to be informed of the test results, in fact, it could be life-saving. Given my age and my COPD, it is a big risk for me to even leave my apartment, which I have not done for over a month. I "believe" that by law, if my tests turn up some problem, like AIDS for instance, they must inform me. What feedback I do get from them is an email stating that my blood was used at this facility or that for a particular use, I.E. save an accident victim or some such thing. That tells me that I am disease free. Now, with this pandemic afoot, things are a bit more complicated and dire, and the need to know details is more important than ever. I thought perhaps someone here may have had the same questions/concerns. However, after reading through this thread, it seems that may not be the case. Thanks again for your reply. I will continue to monitor this thread via e-mail. Thanks for your work here! Have a great day and be safe!

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@colleenyoung

Hi @bunjo, plasma is in the highest demand at the moment. Daily you can see which blood types are need by visiting
– Blood Inventory at Mayo Clinic Rochester MN https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/blood-donor-program/

The data is updated daily.

@lioness, the most common blood type is O negative. Here's a breakdown:
O positive: 35%
O negative: 13%
A positive: 30%
A negative: 8%
B positive: 8%
B negative: 2%
AB positive: 2%
AB negative: 1%

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@colleenyoung Thanks yes that's what I thought it was ,this is my blood type

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Per the Red Cross

There is no test to screen blood donations for the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses. It’s important to emphasize that there are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusions, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.
Jake

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@seafire

Hi. Thanks for the quick reply and re-posting to the proper group. To your question: I have had no luck dealing with technical issues speaking directly with "New York Blood Center". As an example, I had a Shingles Vaccine 8 days before my last donation. I called the day before to be sure I was able to donate. I was told that if I received Shingrix (non live) vaccine, I was good to go. When I arrived to donate there was much confusion. At first they would not take blood from me. They did not seem to know the difference between the different types of Shingles Vaccines, and were adamant about my not being able to donate. Only after they spoke to their medical director and to my Doc was I allowed to donate. They may very well be testing for Covid-19, at least I hope so! I don't think it unreasonable to be informed of the test results, in fact, it could be life-saving. Given my age and my COPD, it is a big risk for me to even leave my apartment, which I have not done for over a month. I "believe" that by law, if my tests turn up some problem, like AIDS for instance, they must inform me. What feedback I do get from them is an email stating that my blood was used at this facility or that for a particular use, I.E. save an accident victim or some such thing. That tells me that I am disease free. Now, with this pandemic afoot, things are a bit more complicated and dire, and the need to know details is more important than ever. I thought perhaps someone here may have had the same questions/concerns. However, after reading through this thread, it seems that may not be the case. Thanks again for your reply. I will continue to monitor this thread via e-mail. Thanks for your work here! Have a great day and be safe!

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Hi, @seafire. First, thank you for your service to our country and for your continuing service of several years of donating blood so that others may live. Like you, as a sr with several chronic health issues, including chronic bronchitis, I have been self-quarantined for over 30 days. Blood donation was something I did regularly for a long time but stopped a yr. before the virus because of health issues.

I live in a much less populated area of TX. However, my close friend living in Queens fears leaving her condo because of health issues. I just want to salute your willingness and also your attempts to get more information from the NY Blood Center.

My friend is becoming increasingly alarmed about the huge delays between placing an online food delivery order and even making the list; when she does get the order placed, the wait time given has been over 30 days. She doesn't drive and her neighborhood grocers and mkts are closed. Are you experiencing something similar? Off topic I know but I am deeply concerned for you, her and all living in NYC and the other hotspots springing up in our country.

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@seafire
First I want to thank you for your military service. Also, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.
I donate whole blood every 56 days. Platelets twice a month and plasma every 28 days. When I donate platelets they use an apheresis machine that removes the platelets and plasma and returns the red blood cells. Covid isn't transmitted through blood. As I understand it only transmittable diseases are tested for like
Hepatitis B & C
Syphilis
HIV 1 & 2 Antibody testing
Zika virus
West Nile virus, and a number of others. I believe West Nile is only tested in certain situations but I’m not sure.
The employees at the American Red Cross where I donate are checked every day for any sign of illness as are all the donors as you know. Do you donate at the Red Cross? Everyone there was wearing a face mask, I didn’t see anyone with a shield or a gown. Why are you concerned about them replacing your red blood cells and platlets? The Red Cross here in Central California don't have a problem with that vaccine. There is a waiting period for the live vaccine.
Jake

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@fiesty76

Hi, @seafire. First, thank you for your service to our country and for your continuing service of several years of donating blood so that others may live. Like you, as a sr with several chronic health issues, including chronic bronchitis, I have been self-quarantined for over 30 days. Blood donation was something I did regularly for a long time but stopped a yr. before the virus because of health issues.

I live in a much less populated area of TX. However, my close friend living in Queens fears leaving her condo because of health issues. I just want to salute your willingness and also your attempts to get more information from the NY Blood Center.

My friend is becoming increasingly alarmed about the huge delays between placing an online food delivery order and even making the list; when she does get the order placed, the wait time given has been over 30 days. She doesn't drive and her neighborhood grocers and mkts are closed. Are you experiencing something similar? Off topic I know but I am deeply concerned for you, her and all living in NYC and the other hotspots springing up in our country.

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Hi @fiesty76 On the topic of food: It's been a very big issue here. Local groceries are closed, and both Peapod and Fresh Direct have no delivery dates available. What I have done is go to their websites one minute past midnight day after day. Finally I was able to find one delivery slot 8 days out. On arrival, about 1/2 of my order arrived. Everything else was "Sold Out". I have repeated this a couple of times, and now have a months supply of food for me and the cats. I have Masks and gloves on order from Amazon, with delivery dates of May 24th! My biggest issue to date, after food, is getting my garbage out. The only way to the basement, where the garbage is disposed of is only accessible by the building elevator. Which, is small, only 5 foot square. So, I have been using creative methods of storing it till I can get some protective gear to safely take it out. I have been locked-in since March 8th, but the isolation is not an issue for me since I have isolated in similar fashion for years due to mental issues. What was an unhealthy mental condition has turned into an asset sorry to say. I am horribly dismayed and embarrassed at the total failure of my country's response to this fight.

Liked by fiesty76

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